Recent decades have witnessed major and alarming changes in nutritional status and trends at the global level. These include a double burden of disease in which some 50 million children under age 5 suffer from wasting or acute malnutrition while 41 million others are overweight or obese. In the Americas, trends similar to, and in some cases worse than, those include high rates of childhood anemia and stunting alongside obesity rates as high as 20-25% in children and adolescents. To address these challenges, regional Member States of the World Health Organization have recently reaffirmed their commitment to carrying out nutrition goals housed in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda; to supporting a Decade of Action on Nutrition; and to carrying out other nutrition-centered improvement measures laid out in PAHO’s Strategy and Plan of Action for the Reduction of Chronic Malnutrition and for Obesity in Children and Adolescents.

With a view to determining the advances made in the implementation of these mandates, this special section of the Pan American Journal of Public Health studies current nutritional situation and trends in the Latin American population throughout the life course. It also maps existing policies aimed at reducing malnutrition, summarizes recent studies on conditional cash-transfer programs and their impact on nutritional status, and identifies challenges and opportunities in moving forward with public policies to address malnutrition.

Malnutrition in the Americas: challenges and opportunities

Carissa Etienne
Editorial | PDF | Published August 29 |

Mapping of nutrition and sectoral policies addressing malnutrition in Latin America

María Cristina Tirado, Luis Galicia, Hannah M. Husby, Jaime Lopez, Stephania Olamendi, Maria Pia Chaparro, María A. González, 
Rubén Grajeda

Original Research | Abstract | PDF | Published September 20 |

Nutrition situation in Latin America and the Caribbean: current scenario, past trends, and data gaps

Luis Galicia, Rubén Grajeda, and Daniel López de Romaña
Original Research | Abstract | PDF | Published September 20 |

Conditional cash transfer programs and the health and nutrition of Latin American children [Los programas de transferencias de efectivo condicionadas y la salud y alimentación de los niños latinoamericanos]

Sofia Segura-Pérez, Rubén Grajeda, Rafael Pérez-Escamilla
Review | Abstract | PDF | Published September 20 |

Tackling malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean: challenges and opportunities [La lucha contra la desnutrición en América Latina y el Caribe: Retos y Oportunidades]

Luis Galicia, Daniel López de Romaña, Kimberly B. Harding, Luz, María De-Regil, and Rubén Grajeda
Opinion & Analysis | Abstract PDF | Published September 20